The Mizuno Wave Kazan strikes a great balance between all of our scoring metrics we believe make up a great shoe. Mizuno says that the inspiration for the Wave Kazan comes from the "Samurai battle standard of 'Furin Kazan' meaning 'move as swift as the wind, stay as silent as the forest, attack as fierce as fire, and be as undefeatable as the mountain.'" Those are lofty standards to aspire to, but in the case of the Wave Kazan, they may have actually hit their high mark. This is a fantastic all-around shoe that perfectly fits the bill of doing everything well, features durable construction, and all at a surprisingly light weight, making it one of the highest ranking shoes in our review.
Mizuno Wave Kazan Review
Cons: Doesn’t shed water well, upper laminate creases oddly
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Mizuno Wave Kazan is one of the most stable shoes that we tried, mostly due to its very wide and flat toe box that serves as a fantastic landing platform. Mizuno claims that its x-pattern midsole allows the shoe to pivot over obstacles on both a forward-backward and side-to-side axis, and we would have to agree that this helps stabilize the foot over uneven terrain. On a myriad of runs over uneven and rocky terrain, we never once approached an ankle roll or experienced foot slippage in the shoe. It is also remarkable that the shoe feels low to the ground because it actually packs a 12mm heel-toe drop, giving a ton of cushioning where it's needed. Overall we felt the performance of this shoe was very good and the Wave Kazan was money well spent.
This product strikes perhaps the most perfect balance of any shoe in the review between adequate protection and adequate sensitivity. This model takes the opposite approach to achieving good balance than the Saucony Peregrine 5; it has good enough protection with great sensitivity, where the Peregrine 5 is very protective with some sensitivity. The shoe lacks a rockplate, but the 12mm heel-toe drop promises plenty of cushioning under the heel for long descents. Additionally, the upper features a light and clear laminate over the fabric material that protects the foot well.
The outsole of this shoe features hard yet very sticky rubber patterned with large flower-shaped lugs. We found that the lugs gave us great traction in mud and dirt while also managing to avoid any excess buildup. The rubber grips rocks as well as any shoe we tried. Our only complaint is that the sole is made of many different pieces and leaves some midsole foam exposed to wear and tear.
This shoe is one of the most stable that we tried, which surprised us. We figured that the large heel-toe drop of 12mm would lend itself to being tipsy, but the wide forefoot creates a great landing platform. This shoe feels far more stable than ones with comparably large drop, like the Salomon Speedcross 4.
ComfortAltra Superior 3.5, so if you have a wide foot, this is certainly one we would recommend trying first. Mizuno claims that the x-patterned midsole allows the forefoot and heel to move independently to adapt to uneven terrain, while the cradle holds the foot in place. We would have to agree that whatever Mizuno is doing, works! The ride is as smooth as they come. Our only comfort related complaints were that the shoe doesn't shed water as well as some others, and that a clear plastic laminate which undoubtedly lends protection and durability to the upper happens to crease up in weird ways when the shoe is bending, especially on the downhill. We wouldn't call this anomaly uncomfortable, just odd.
For all that this shoe gives, it is quite light, which we loved! While not as light as the lightest models we tested, it was lighter than virtually all the other traditional style shoes. Our pair of size 11 shoes weighed in at an impressive 22.0 ounces.
As we mentioned above, the Mizuno Wave Kazan strikes a fantastic balance between underfoot protection and sensitivity. You will certainly feel the trail in this shoe, but in a good way, with the comfort of knowing that you can miss a step here or there without damaging your foot. This was the most sensitive traditional shoe that we tried, scoring only slightly lower than The North Face Ultra Trail and the La Sportiva Helios.
Mizuno claims this shoe is meant for everything, and we would have to agree. We would even suggest that it performs well on the road, should you need to hit the tarmac on the way to and from the trails.
At $120, this shoe fits right in the middle of the price scale, and is comparably priced to most of the shoes we reviewed. Seeing as how it is one our favorites, we think it is an excellent value for the price.
Simply put, this is one of the very best shoes that we tried, and shows an incredible amount of thought and care to fine-tune a shoe this precisely. If you are looking for a precision piece of footwear at the same price as virtually every other shoe on the market, then this is the one for you.
— Andy Wellman